Although it’s tough to imagine John Wooden’s UCLA basketball teams ever struggling through a five-game losing streak, the Bruins’ current football coach realizes the Wizard of Westwood has plenty to teach him about the Bruins’ plight.
Rick Neuheisel has turned to Wooden’s writings for instruction and solace during UCLA’s skid, which didn’t quite end in last weekend’s 26-19 loss at Oregon State.
“While winning is important, it’s not the way you judge yourself,” Neuheisel said Monday, paraphrasing Wooden’s words. “You keep judging yourself by how you’re learning and how you’re trying, and if you continue to work hard, those wins will come.”
The Bruins’ history lesson for the week doesn’t end with Wooden. UCLA (3-5, 0-5 Pac-10) will don powder-blue throwback jerseys for Saturday’s visit from Washington (3-5, 2-3) in hopes of recapturing the spirit of the 1967 team led by quarterback Gary Beban, the only Bruins player to win the Heisman Trophy.
For 15 surprising minutes against the Beavers, the UCLA offense finally looked as sharp as Neuheisel expected it would be all season long. Quarterback Kevin Prince led two touchdown drives capped by two-point conversions in the fourth quarter, tying Oregon State at 19 with 2:06 left.